“Site Specifics” presented by Paul


Session Title:

  • Site Specifics: Mobile Media Art and the Contexts of Place

Presentation Title:

  • Site Specifics




  • Chair Per­son: Chris­tiane Paul
    Pre­sen­ters: Tanya Toft, Jack Toolin & Teri Rueb

    The pro­posed panel will iden­tify dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of loca­tive, site-spe­cific media art and ex­plore their im­pact on un­der­stand­ing the con­text of place and on our aware­ness of the en­vi­ron­ment. Mo­bile com­put­ing po­ten­tially en­ables var­i­ous forms of so­cial in­ter­ac­tion and has to be con­sid­ered in re­la­tion to con­cepts of em­bod­i­ment, the cre­ation of mean­ing, as well as in­di­vid­ual au­ton­omy and agency. The lat­ter as­pects of mo­bile com­put­ing and loca­tive media con­sid­er­ably af­fect our per­cep­tion and aware­ness of en­vi­ron­ments. Mo­bile de­vices can func­tion as tech­no­log­i­cal ex­ten­sions of em­bod­i­ment, con­nect­ing us to lo­ca­tion-based in­for­ma­tion and en­hanc­ing aware­ness of our en­vi­ron­ment or ‘so­cial body’. Loca­tive new media art, which uses lo­ca­tions in pub­lic space as a ‘can­vas’ for im­ple­ment­ing art pro­jects, has be­come one of the most ac­tive and fast-grow­ing areas within the larger field of dig­i­tal arts. Cam­era and video phones, smart phones, and mo­bile de­vices with em­bed­ded GPS have be­come new plat­forms for cul­tural pro­duc­tion, pro­vid­ing an in­ter­face through which users can par­tic­i­pate in net­worked pub­lic pro­jects, as well as en­abling the for­ma­tion of ad-hoc com­mu­ni­ties.

    The panel will dis­cuss var­i­ous cat­e­gories of loca­tive media art, for ex­am­ple pro­jects that en­hance con­text by al­low­ing par­tic­i­pants to ‘leave a mark’ on their sur­round­ings, sub­mit or re­trieve site-spe­cific in­for­ma­tion, or re­con­fig­ure the map; pro­jects that cre­ate a sys­temic aware­ness of peo­ple’s moods or be­hav­iors by re­flect­ing the pres­ence, move­ments, or ac­tions and re­ac­tions, pro­file, tasks and goals, emo­tions and be­hav­ior of peo­ple in their en­vi­ron­ment. Also dis­cussed will be mo­bile pro­jects that ad­dress sur­veil­lance or en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues and place em­pha­sis on in­creas­ing peo­ple’s aware­ness of the larger so­cio-po­lit­i­cal con­text of site, often en­cour­ag­ing or en­abling their users to be­come proac­tive and en­gage in local pol­i­tics. The pan­elists will rep­re­sent these dif­fer­ent artis­tic prac­tices within the field of mo­bile media. A major goal of the panel is to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween forms of con­text aware­ness and site-speci­ficity that mo­bile media can pro­duce.